LITTLE SILVER – The Red Bank boys basketball team played its 2013-14 season on an emotional high that carried the Bucs to heights the program had not seen in nearly a decade.

Another year removed from the passing of senior captain Albert Martin – for whom the Albert E. Martin Memorial Buc Classic is named – the Bucs’ emotional attachment to its season has not dwindled. According the Red Bank’s players, it has only grown.

Senior Anthony Mitchell scored 21 points to lead Red Bank to a 68-49 win over Shore on Sunday in the Buc Classic semifinals. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Senior Anthony Mitchell scored 21 points to lead Red Bank to a 68-49 win over Shore on Sunday in the Buc Classic semifinals. (Photo by Matt Manley)
loading...

The Bucs – the No. 3 seed in their hometown tournament – continued their fast start to the season Sunday by routing second-seeded Shore in the Buc Classic semifinals, 68-49, to advance to the championship game of their own tournament for the first time since 2007, when Red Bank won the second of two straight titles and third overall.

“The emotion is even higher this year,” senior guard Anthony Mitchell said. “We were so close last year and that’s only driven us more. We had a great year last year, but we didn’t get to where we wanted to go and we’re working hard to make sure we finish this year.”

Red Bank will take on last year’s Tournament of Champions winner St. Joseph’s-Metuchen, which beat Middletown North in the other semifinal, 57-44.

“Emotion like that doesn’t just go away,” junior forward Sadiq Palmer said. “Albert, that’s our boy. As long as we keep playing, we’re going to be playing for him. That’s why we’re trying to represent in this tournament. This is our home court, it’s named after our teammate, and we want to honor that.”

Red Bank never trailed on Sunday, scoring the first 10 points of the game and storming out to a 20-7 lead after the first quarter, capped by a long 3-pointer from Mitchell as the buzzer sounded. When Shore later pulled within 22-12, the Bucs reeled off a 15-1 run to end the half.

Mitchell scored 21 points to go with six rebounds and two steals, while Palmer added 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bucs. Seniors Jimmy Ferrogine (10 points) and Connor Kelly (seven points) also combined for 17 points off the bench, while senior Tyler Christie scored all nine of his points in the first half.

“We thought we could wear them down with our depth,” Red Bank coach Scott Martin said. “We were hoping to stay close and then once they started to wear down, we’d pull away. We didn’t necessarily plan on shooting like we did in the first quarter, so that was a welcome surprise.”

For the second straight tournament game, Shore relied upon senior Dan Largey for most of its scoring. The 6-foot-5 senior scored 27 points for the second straight game, giving him 54 of Shore’s 95 points during the tournament.

“We were focused, mainly, on their three main guys (Largey, Kevin Bloodgood and Jack Byrne), particularly on Largey and Bloodgood because they are two bulls in the paint and they’ve done most of their scoring,” Martin said. “Largey got his tonight, and that was okay with us as long as we could keep the other two in check and keep the supporting guys from hitting shots.”

Red Bank reached the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III final last season before losing to Ewing in the sectional championship game. The collective promise to play in honor of Martin’s memory carried the Bucs within a win of a championship one year after winning only four games the year prior, and they are hoping this year has even better things in store.

“That bus ride home from Ewing is the last memory we have of last year,” Mitchell said. “We had a good run, but during that bus ride, nobody was thinking that. We just felt for the seniors who were leaving and for the guys that were coming back, we never wanted to feel that again.”

Box Score

Red Bank 68, Shore 49

1

2

3

4

F

Red Bank (4-0)

20

17

7

24

68

Shore (3-1)

7

6

15

21

49

 

Red Bank (68): Jack Navitsky 0 0-0 0, Anthony Mitchell 5 8-10 21, Justin Gilson 2 0-0 5, Sadiq Palmer 6 4-5 16, Tyler Christie 4 0-0 9, Jimmy Ferrogine 5 0-0 10, Eddie Hendrex 0 0-0 0, Connor Kelly 3 0-0 7, Matt Reardon 0 0-0 0, Moses Birch 0 0-0 0, Ben Sprauer 0 0-0 0, Jack Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 11-14 68

Three-pointers: Mitchell 3, Gilson, Christie, Kelly

Shore (49): Rob Gialanella 1 1-3 3, Kevin Bloodgood 3 0-1 6, Dan Largey 9 8-11 27, Matt McCarthy 1 0-0 2, Jack Byrne 0 1-3 1, Billy Deerin 2 0-0 4, Ryan Jones 2 0-0 6, Evan Coffey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 10-18 49

Three-pointers: Largey, Jones 2